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Better Together: Virtual event to give Hamilton’s small businesses platform to vent, share resources

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Better Together: Virtual event to give Hamilton’s small businesses platform to vent, share resources

A Hamilton small business owner is hoping to bring his fellow entrepreneurs together for a virtual face-to-face meet and greet.

Hub of the Hammer Events is hosting Better Together, an online meet and greet for local businesses looking to connect and share their stories of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The overall goal is to get everyone together and figure out how we can all support each other,” said Matthew Surina, of Hub of the Hammer.

“We’re all feeling the struggle.”

Surina said the online event will give local small business owners a chance to share their experiences and help each other find solutions

“I want to tell my story and give people the opportunity to tell theirs,” he said.

Hamilton businesses have taken a huge hit this past year and while many continue to struggle to keep their heads above water, some have had to make the heartbreaking decision to close their doors for good.

If lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions continue, more closures will undoubtedly continue.

According to recent research carried out by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one-in-six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down.

This could potentially leave millions of people out of work.

“We are not headed in the right direction and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research in a statement.

“The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.”

If Hamilton’s small businesses can find a way to support one another business-to-business, Surina believes there are some advantages to be gained.

Most importantly, he sees an opportunity for businesses to share resources and know-how to help others through this period of uncertainty.

He also said he feels that by working together, small independent businesses can keep themselves more well informed about the changes coming their way and “react together” to either help bring the changes about or find ways to appeal to the powers that be for clarity and support.

“There’s a feeling of isolation among businesses,” Surina said. “[Better Together] can help put faces to names and show businesses they’re not alone.”

Hub of the Hammer’s Better Together free virtual meet and greet will be held on Friday, January, 29 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Interested business owners are asked to register beforehand online.

— with a file and photo from The Canadian Press

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